Nonprofit news roundup for Nov. 17, 2008

Obama advisers take close look at Clinton Foundation

President-elect Barack Obama’s advisers are looking into former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation to see whether its financial transactions would bar his wife, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, from becoming secretary of state, The New York Times reported Nov. 16 (see vetting story). Bill Clinton, whose foundation has raised over $500 million since its formation in 1998, is facing pressure to disclose information about the foundation’s donors. Hillary Clinton, Obama’s former rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, is one of several candidates being considered for secretary of state, along with Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Democrats say.

Charlotte United Way drive falls $20 million short

United Way of Central Carolinas announced plans to extend its annual fundraising drive to year’s end after falling $20 million short of last year’s record $45 million, The Charlotte Observer reported Nov. 14. The campaign, which has raised $25.4 million to date, was set back by both the economic downturn and public distrust following the ousting of former CEO Gloria Pace King over her controversial $1.2 million compensation package, United Way says.

University of Michigan campaign raises $3.1 billion

The University of Michigan has raised $3.1 billion in its Michigan Difference fundraising campaign, surpassing its $2.5 billion goal, the Associated Press reported Nov. 15. The money, the most ever raised by a public university, will go toward financial aid, endowed professorships and construction projects.

Economic crisis forces small U.S. colleges to shut down

As many large colleges and universities cut back expansion projects to combat dwindling endowments, smaller institutions are struggling to hold on to what they have, The Boston Globe reported Nov. 17 (see college story). Spurred by the economic turmoil, several small colleges throughout the U.S. have decided to shut down at the end of the semester or academic year.

Advertising campaign aims to boost technology in developing world

One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit that provides low-cost laptops to children in developing nations, is looking to a new advertising campaign to revive its flagging numbers, The New York Times reported Nov. 16 (see laptop story). Though the nonprofit has provided about 500,000 laptops to children in 31 countries, including Afghanistan, Cambodia and Iraq, the pricetag of nearly $200 on each of the laptops has been prohibitively high for many countries. Media companies such as the News Corporation, CBS and Time Warner are donating television time, billboard space and magazine pages in efforts to boost laptop donations.

In Brief:

* Dartmouth College and Stanford University are two of many elite U.S. institutions that are slashing budgets to make up for steep endowment declines, Bloomberg reported Nov. 14.

* The image of philanthropists as “stout, grey geezers” is being replaced by fresh faces such as Talia Leman, an Iowa eighth-grader who has organized campaigns to help victims of Hurricane Katrina and build schools in rural Cambodia, Nicholas Kristof says in an opinion column in The New York Times Nov. 16.

* Private colleges in the Albany, N.Y., area have seen their endowments drop anywhere from $1.6 million to $30 million in the wake of the financial-market meltdown, The Business Review reported Nov. 14.

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